Spirit Rock & McNeill Estate
Highway 6 North near Wiarton
Encompassing 87 hectares, the site features historical ruins, an impressive view from the top of the Niagara Escarpment, a spiral staircase to the water’s edge, and access to the Bruce Trail.
- This is a must-see property in Bruce County
- From the Bruce Trail at the top of the escarpment there are impressive views and the unique spiral staircase down along the escarpment edge to Colpoy’s Bay! While climbing the staircase you can have a closeness to the escarpment face usually reserved for rock climbers.
- Picnic tables
- Over 5 km of hiking trails (Blue Loop Trail 2.3 km and approximate time to hike is 1-1/2 hours)
- Open late Spring to Fall
- Seasonal washrooms
You can also visit the ruins of the McNeill Estate, which provides a glimpse into the history of Bruce County and its settlers. The heart of the McNeill family estate was the Corran, a 17-room stone mansion. Corran is Gaelic for ‘point of land running into the sea’. Alexander McNeill was born in Northern Ireland and served as the Federal Member of parliament for the North Bruce Riding, 1881-1901.
In 1881, this site became home for Alexander McNeill who developed the land into beautiful garden, manicured lawns and productive orchards. The heart of the estate was the Corran, a 17-room mansion lavished with oriental carvings, ancient weapons, tapestries and book-lined walls. McNeill’s mansion was modeled and named after his childhood home in Northern Ireland. The Gaelic meaning for Corran is ‘point of land running into the sea’. From 1881 – 1901, McNeill was the Federal Member of Parliament for the North Bruce Riding. He was a supporter of Britain and its empire and one of the ‘Noble 13’ who opposed Sir John A. Macdonald on a number of issues.
McNeill was a quiet man, fond of reading and a lover of flowers. He lived on the estate with his wife Hester and their son Malcolm. Hester died quite young, before the estate was completely finished. Unfortunately, after McNeill died, Malcolm was more interested in parties than managing the estate, and the family fortune dwindled away.
Following Malcolm’s death, the housekeeper, who had been willed the estate, sold it in 1960 to a Toronto resident. Without fulltime occupancy at the mansion, vandals victimized the site. The property was sold in 1976 to the Conservation Authority. Shortly after, a fire destroyed the mansion, leaving only a stone shell, which is still visible today.
92 Highway 6
South Bruce Peninsula